Peres: Alternative to Peace Is Dangerous

French and Spanish foreign ministers Bernard Kouchner and Miguel Moratinos meet with Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on first day of their Middle East trip.

The alternative to peace is dangerous, President Shimon Peres said on Sunday at a meeting with the French and Spanish foreign ministers, Bernard Kouchner and Miguel Moratinos.

During the meeting, the foreign ministers expressed cautious optimism in regards to the future of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and expressed their desire to aid those talks.

Shimon Peres Oct. 10, 2010 (GPO)
Amos Ben Gershom / Government Press Office

"We're optimistic," Kouchner said after the meeting. "This is a most sensitive moment in which we need to make an effort to advance the peace talks."

Moratinos said that he shared Kouchner;s optimism despite the "challenges and worries of both sides."

"The two sides sent a very strong message to the international community that they want to maintain the momentum, to keep the door open for direct talks and to overcome the fragility of the process to move on to the meaningful issues."

Peres acknowledged the ongoing difficulties affecting the peace process but said that they can be overcome.

"Most people want peace but at the same time they are skeptical," Peres said. "We need to overcome the skepticism and allow the peace process to continue."

Kouchner and Moratinos arrived in Israel on Sunday for talks with officials on the peace process. The two are pushing French President Nicolas Sarkozy's idea of a summit in Paris later this month between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

On Sunday evening, Kouchner visited the tent set up by captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit's parents outside the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem.